Snow Leopard: Which apps, utilities have been left behind?

Some applications aren't yet compatible with the new Mac OS. We let you know which, and offer some alternatives.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Windows Live Sync

Live Mesh

I regularly work with three computers -- a Vista desktop, a dual-boot Windows XP/Windows 7 laptop and a MacBook Air. (I also have a Linux machine that I don't use as much.) I need to keep certain files and folders in sync among the PCs and the Mac, which at first I found to be a nearly impossible task. .

But then I found the free Windows Live Sync -- called FolderShare before Microsoft bought the developer and rejiggered the software -- and it solved the problem for me. Run the software on each Mac and PC you want to sync, tell it what folders to synchronize, and it does the work automatically in the background. It's one of the best pieces of productivity-boosting software I've ever used.

Until Snow Leopard, that is. When I try to use it on Snow Leopard, I get an error message telling me that the Windows Sync service isn't available or that I'm not connected to the Internet. But I am, in fact, connected to the Internet, and the service is, in fact, available. I've tried it numerous times. I get the same error message every time.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Windows Live Sync, but that only made things worse -- it went through the installation process, but the actual software didn't show up. So I gave up. I expect that Microsoft will eventually fix the problem.

Microsoft's Live Mesh is similar to Windows Live Sync, with some extra features for running computers remotely. Like Windows Live Sync, there are clients for both the Mac and PC. Also like Windows Live Sync, it doesn't work under Snow Leopard for now.

An alternative: SugarSync works in a similar way to Windows Live Syc, and it also does online backup of your files, so you don't have the files only on your PCs and Macs, but safely in an online repository as well. Download the software, and you can back up as much as 2GB of data and keep it synchronized. For more than that, you'll have to pay -- plans start at $4.99 a month (or $49.99 a year) for up to 30GB of data.

I find Windows Live Sync easier to use than SugarSync, and I might go back to Windows Live Sync when it works with Snow Leopard. But in the meantime, I can still keep my folders in sync.

Xmarks for Safari

In addition to using different computers, I use different browsers as well: Firefox and Internet Explorer on my PCs; Safari and Firefox on my Mac; Firefox on the Linux machine. I like to keep my bookmarks synchronized among them, and to do that, I turn to a great piece of free software called Xmarks. It synchronizes bookmarks and passwords among all browsers on all machines, and it will back up your bookmarks to an Internet location if you like.

However, Xmarks for Safari won't work on Snow Leopard and there's been no word on when a Snow-Leopard-compatible version will be available.

An alternative: The Firefox version of Xmarks works without a hitch.

The upshot

Keep in mind that sometimes you just have to be persistent. For example, I had problems getting a Cisco VPN to work with Snow Leopard, even though it worked fine with the previous version of Mac OS X. However, uninstalling the VPN software and then re-installing it did the trick.

There are of course other applications that won't work with Snow Leopard; this list is only software that I use on a daily basis.

Adobe Systems initially said that its Creative Suite 3, which includes Adobe Photoshop, might not run on it, but the company now claims that the major problems have been ironed out. Some people have reported that they cannot get Google Gears to run on Snow Leopard, but I've used it without problems. There are also reports that Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Creative Suite 2, CoverSutra, Cyberduck, Disk Inventory X and Disk Warrior won't work on Snow Leopard, but I have not been able to confirm them.

If you know of other apps that won't run on Snow Leopard -- or if software I wrote about here does work on your installation, or has since been fixed -- tell me about it. I'll issue regular updates.

To track our coverage of Apple's Snow Leopard, you can subscribe to our RSS feeds for articles or blog entries.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon